How to Be Effective on Social Media: The Holiday Edition

For those of you who don’t know, for my day job I work in social media, both for a company, and independently as a social media coach for writers. So for this week’s post, I’d like to offer a few free tips on how you can use social media effectively to reach readers, gain followers, and boost your writerly brand.

First, a few quick do’s:

DO:

  • Share and promote your books, especially if you’re having a sale during the holidays. Books – both digital and print – make great gifts, so let people know what you have.
  • Keep tweeting, sharing on Facebook, writing blogs, etc. Whatever sort of social media strategy you’ve been working during the past few months, keep it up. I know the holidays can make your schedule crazy, but don’t disappear off social media for the month of December. If you’re at all serious about building and maintaining a brand, consistency is vital.
  • Share about what’s going in your life. Got invited to a swank Christmas party? Cat knocked over the tree? Just took the kids to see Santa? People want to know the real you behind your books! Be personable!

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5 Reasons I’m Thankful for Stories

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are five reasons why I think stories are important, and why I’m so very thankful:

Stories are entertaining. Some may say that there’s no real value in entertainment – it’s just a frivolity. While it’s certainly possible to sacrifice your responsibilities and productivity in the name of always seeking to be entertained, entertainment itself is not a bad thing. Entertainment can lower stress and raise happiness. Good stories do that, and I’m thankful.

Stories teach us. Whether it’s a true story or complete fiction, through stories we can learn about the power of the human will, good versus evil, what true love means. Anything can be taught through a story – whether it’s an elusive human value, or facts about history, science, or other cultures.  Continue reading

5 Little-Known Facts about Me (That Have Nothing to Do with Books or Writing)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you probably know some of my favorite things: Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter, The Wizard of Oz, fairy gardens, Babylon 5, and world folk music, among other things. Well, just for fun, I thought I’d share five little tidbits about me that have nothing to do with writing, fantasy, or geekery in general. So if you want to get to know me better, read on!

I love rabbits

Kal-El, performing the trick known as Dead Bunny Flop. No, he was't dead here - just very relaxed. He was good at being relaxed.

Kal-El, performing the trick known as Dead Bunny Flop. No, he was’t dead here – just very relaxed. He was good at being relaxed.

I have a pet cat at the moment (and I’ve almost always had at least one cat as a personal or family pet for my entire life). But I also love pet rabbits, and I owned rabbits for a good twenty years. I’m taking a break from bunnies for a few years, because they’re really a lot of work (much more work than cats and dogs put together). But rabbits are entertaining and intelligent animals and life is never dull with bunnies in the house. (Remind me to tell you sometime about my bunny who could open doors, or my other bunny who was a climber.)

Even though I’m shy and try to avoid confrontation, I signed up for safety patrol in 5th grade and loved it

To this day, I have no idea why I did this, nor why I was apparently a successful safety patrol officer for the entire school year. Granted, I was assigned a side hallway and all I ever had to do was make sure that no one snuck out the back door to the playground. But still, I cheerfully told people not to run in the hallways, and I was never confronted by the more aggressive students. Maybe it was me acting out my desire to be acknowledged and respected? I was painfully shy, so I guess the badge and belt gave me confidence. Continue reading

The Artist and the Professional – Yes, You can Be Both

For this week’s post, I’m sending you over to Helps2Media. For those who don’t know, Helps2 is a digital marketing and social media company, and it’s where I work for my day job. Last week I penned the blog post – it’s about how artists/writers/creatives of all types can be artistic yet still be professional online and (thus increase their reach and sell their stuff.) Check it out!

Are you an Aspiring Writer?

I hear many people say they are an aspiring writer. I read a lot of blogs – by writers, written for writers – that talk about being an aspiring writer. But I disagree with that term, and here’s why.

To aspire to something is to reach for it, hope for it, dream about achieving it. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to greater things in life – in fact, everyone should have at least one or two things they aspire to. Otherwise you have no goals and dreams, and frankly, life’s pretty bland if you’re just existing.

So what if you’re wanting to be a writer? Well, let’s break this down. Do you want to be a published writer? Do you want to be a full-time writer (as in you’re published and selling enough to quit your day job)? Do you want to be a successful writer? (This means different things to different people. For some it might mean getting one story published in a magazine, for others it might mean having a book on the NY Times Bestseller list). Continue reading